Atlanta cop charged with murder in death of Brooks

ATLANTA (REUTERS) – “These are the 11 charges against officer Rolfe. The first charge is felony murder.”

A fired Atlanta police officer has been charged with felony murder and another officer faces lesser charges in the shooting death last week of Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told reporters on Wednesday.

“And the possible sentences for a felony murder conviction would be life, life without parole, or the death penalty.”

The death of the 27-year-old Brooks – another in a long line of African-Americans killed by police – further heightened racial concerns in the United States over police tactics and systemic racism.

Garrett Rolfe, the white officer who shot Brooks on June 12 was fired the next day after surveillance video showed his actions. He now faces 11 charges including felony murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Howard said the Atlanta police department’s rules do not allow an officer to fire even a taser at someone running away, and said of Rolfe, quote “so he certainly cannot fire a handgun at someone running away.”

Video of the incident, which escalated from a call about a man who appeared intoxicated in his car at the Wendy’s drive-though into a fatal shooting, appeared to show Brooks taking one of the officer’s Tasers and pointing it at Rolfe before being shot.

Brooks’ family welcomed the charges, but his widow Tomika Miller said the charges wouldn’t bring her husband back.

“It hurt. It hurt really bad.”

During Wednesday’s news conference in Atlanta, Howard said Rolfe also kicked Brooks after shooting him and that Devin Brosnan, the other responding officer, has admitted standing on the wounded man’s shoulders as Brooks lay dying.

Howard recommended that the judge hold Rolfe without bond.

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